Directed and co-written by Philip Granger (Jeff O’Brien was the other scribe for the film) this 2015 Canadian offering, titled Bad Building is just plain bad. Nothing about the film works and at one hour 14 minutes long, it feels three times longer. Despite the filmmakers deciding not to go the “found-footage” route, this short feature bores, frustrates and annoys.
The plot has a group of ghost hunters who are going all out to keep their program from being cancelled. The first scene in the film is indicative of the rest of the movie. The “producer” who threatens the host with cancellation appears to have been brought in off the street to play the part.
Like the bad acting in the first frames, after a five minute opening credit sequence, all of Bad Building is bad. Bad editing, bad continuity, bad acting (again), bad lighting, bad sound…the list goes on. Sadly, the premise could have been good, although the “reality-TV-paranormal-team -investigating-the-haunted-asylum” has been overdone.
The catalog of things done badly, poorly or just wrong is long. Many could have been fixed with pickup shots or a bit of ADR or just having a good grasp of continuity. Most of the mistakes are not even laughably bad. A scene with a disappearing door (which leads to a stairwell) has a glaring mistake visible when the camera moves back for a long shot.
After the door vanishes, which is in the middle of a long row of doors, the camera angle changes for a long shot from behind the action. The missing door scene is now suddenly at the end of the hallway. There is no explanation for this sudden change. It is just there.
Another instance is when the group first go into the building. A member of the team places what is clearly tape on the wall behind a pipe where they enter. As the team pass, and the camera follows, the “tape” has been replaced with a green “magic marker” cross that then fades.
Clearly, this was, at one point, meant to be a plot device for the film which is never used or followed up on. Among the long list of things done badly are special effects which are either so blatantly computer generated or very poorly constructed practicals.
For instance, a member of the crew attempts to call for help from an upper floor window. Outside the window there are rows of metal “tines” used to keep pigeons from landing on the ledge. The character is forced onto the spikes and presumably dies. The gag does not work as the pigeon proofing is clearly rubber and so flimsy that it moves easily.
Other stunts make no sense and still more “action” scenes are either poorly filmed, or edited; leaving the viewer wondering what they have just seen.
The young actors in this horror film sound like their lines have all been improvised on the spot, rather than speaking scripted dialogue. One can quite imagine these young professional performers leaving this credit off of their CV (resume). As a gesture of compassion, the actors will not be mentioned by name in this review. They should not be punished for a bad script, confusing edits and poor direction.
In terms of editing, there are scenes which appear to be “out of sequence” and these let things down badly. For example, after the host has a meltdown, he fires a gun to threaten the urban explorers who helped him and his team get into the building. Once his weapon is taken away (and he is thumped by the urban leader) he then goes back to acting as though nothing has happened.
Bad Building is just bad. Apparently, the film first appeared (via YouTube as a trailer) in 2011. Presumably the film sat unfinished or undistributed for four years. After spending 74 minutes watching this execrable mess, one cannot help feel that the film should have stayed on the shelf.
Literally a .5 out of 5 stars. The film earns a half star because I refuse to give anyone’s hard work a zero and there was one halfway decent line, maybe two, in the film. Bad Building is on Hulu at the moment, avoid this one unless you really like badly done movies that leave you frustrated, bored and irritated.